ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday issued a contempt of court notice to Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, for criticising the institution of judiciary.

The show-cause notice issued under Section 3 of Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 by the IHC said: “You, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Information and Broadcasting while conducting the press conference criticised the Institution of Judiciary and stated that bail order to Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will open a floodgate of similar requests by prisoners suffering from various diseases.”

“That you while maligning the courts went on to say that the case of the accused was heard during the evening ‘as a special dispensation’ [...] that you as a Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Spokesperson of the Federal Government made an attempt to scandalise the court in the eyes of the public, thereby, tried to lower the esteem of the judiciary,” added the notice.

It continued that the contents of her press conference about the courts were unwarranted being a Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, more particularly the spokesperson of the federal government.

“The above act of yours prima-facie attracts a penal action against you under the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.”

The court notice directed Awan to appear in person tomorrow to explain as to why she should not be proceeded under the contempt of court law.

Firdous, while holding a presser following the bail to Nawaz Sharif, had said that the government would want to see such speedy trials for all the under-trial prisoners and in all cases. “We hope this new trend will be applicable to all cases,” she had said.

The special assistant had also remarked that there was no precedent in the past that the executive was asked to take responsibility for the health of a prisoner, referring to the judges’ questions during the hearing of a bail plea on Saturday last.

“We are not responsible for his old ailments, including blood pressure and cardiac issues.”